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Curious About the New Mastercard Rules? Here’s the Latest for Nonprofits


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Published August 30, 2022 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated October 27, 2022

You might have heard about updated Mastercard rules. While these changes are no longer applicable to nonprofits and donations, Classy considers it best practice to conform to consumer regulations. We’re here to explain why you should feel confident that your nonprofit still prioritizes the recurring donor experience when you partner with Classy.

This year, Mastercard enhanced its cardholder experience with new requirements around subscription billing models. Our team at Classy is constantly improving the platform to help you facilitate a fantastic recurring giving experience for your donors, which includes allowing donors to give how and when they want.

What Are the New Mastercard Rules?

Mastercard asked any subscription merchant or organization conducting recurring payment transactions to adjust their practices. These rules aim to add transparency for cardholders and reduce chargebacks.

Nonprofits aren’t required to apply these rules but doing so can only improve the experience recurring donors have with their organization, and therefore impact the rate at which they convert and retain them.

How Mastercard’s Merchant Rules Impact Nonprofits

While at the start, we believed Mastercard’s latest updates would also impact any nonprofit organization offering a recurring donation option, they no longer apply.

However, a recurring donation is similar to a subscription as it regularly charges a donor’s card on an automatic frequency such as daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.

Nonprofits can create better experiences similar to for-profit services and subscriptions by applying the rules Mastercard laid out:

  1. Disclose full subscription terms at the time of a recurring gift subscription, including the price that will be billed and the frequency of the billing (for example, “You will be billed USD 9.95 per month until you cancel the recurring donation.“).
  2. Send a confirmation by email or another electronic method when a donor enrolls in a recurring donation plan that provides the subscription terms, a transaction receipt, and clear instructions about canceling the subscription. Cardholders may choose to opt out of receiving these notices.
  3. Offer an email or electronic reminder for payments that process six or more months apart, such as a semi-annual or annually recurring gift. Nonprofits should notify a donor on this type of plan or recurring gift frequency at least seven days, but no more than 30 days before the billing date, and include the subscription terms and instructions on how to cancel.
  4. Provide instructions for canceling a recurring gift online or precise information on how a donor can cancel their donation online (such as a “Manage Subscription” or “Cancel Subscription” link on the merchant’s home page).
  5. An online cancellation method easily accessible for donors to manage and end their recurring donation as they see fit, at any time they wish to do so.

You’re Covered With Classy

Classy’s strategy for recurring giving is about much more than being compliant. Classy’s technology creates great giving experiences for supporters, which includes the ability for donors to give how and when they want. It’s why we’ve invested, and continue to invest so much into our recurring giving product set.

Explore Recurring on Classy

Classy’s platform allows donors to manage their subscriptions through the supporter hub, and we’ve launched capabilities like multiple plan frequencies and plan end dates, which give them even more flexibility. We also have plans to enrich the supporter hub with more features like temporary pause options and reactivate options. All of these features are aimed at giving recurring donors the best experience, which drives retention.

Prioritizing the donor experience means investing time to explore what today’s donors want and need. A large portion of that experience is maintaining trust with donors as they give to various nonprofit organizations. We pride ourselves on offering features and proactive measures that naturally support the Mastercard merchant rules.

To ensure we are compliant with the regulations set forth by Mastercard, we will make the following updates by November 2022:

  1. Email notification to donors 7 days prior to processing payment for recurring giving plans with frequencies that are six months apart or longer, inclusive of semi-annual and annual donations
  2. A required “manage your donation” content block for all recurring giving emails sent to supporters

This email will be enabled and triggered for all existing campaigns so that no action by the organization is needed. However, organizations will have the option to customize the email template just as they currently do for other email templates within a campaign.

Your Trusted Partner for Recurring Giving

Recurring giving at Classy is so much more than remaining compliant. We prioritize innovation and scalability for nonprofits to invite donors to give in the way that works best for them. We recognize the value that nonprofits receive from predictable revenue streams and offer them tools to effectively establish and manage strong recurring donation programs.

Some recent updates we’ve made include additional recurring frequencies, end dates, intuitive donation management tools for donors, and mobile payment options like Paypal. We’ve also made recurring giving available through embedded checkout experiences to give donors the easiest path to provide a lasting impact. Take a look at the example below.


We’ve consistently measured recurring donation trends on our platform through our annual report, The State of Modern Philanthropy to understand the ROI of our investments. We also conducted third-party research in our Recurring Donor Sentiment Report to hear from donors themselves about what drives excellence in recurring giving experiences.

The collective research we do between our data collection and conversations on the ground with nonprofits helps us introduce new functionality that keeps recurring giving ever-evolving with modern technology and the donor landscape. Valuing incredible recurring donor experiences means we already have in place many of the aspects Mastercard is now requiring. We will continue to prioritize the evolution and improvement of the donor experience so you can build trusting relationships with your donors that lead to loyal supporters.

5 Types of Recurring Giving Programs to Consider

Learn About Recurring Giving on Classy

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